A lucky few had a chance to experience our multisensory chair with second generation aromaComposer diffusion and blending system at the Scent World Expo, held in Las Vegas Nevada, during the period of Nov 18-21 2009.
Our purpose was to let the international community have a sneak peek at what we have been up to, to get to know that community. Although the focus of the event was the use of scent for marketing purposes, as part of multisensory branding experiences, many of the attendees were involved in other aspects of scent and multisensory experiences.
Many friends made.
In the early 1960′s, … my father took my brothers and myself to the Santa Monica Pier, where I experienced an expensive experimental arcade game machine called “Sensorama”, now acknowledged as one of the first virtual reality systems. I experienced true multisensory… a 3-D film, stereo sound, vibration, wind and different aromas in one box. Created by Mort Heilig and patented in 1962. Spent all my change that day to run through his shows. As I remember, one was an over the sand dunes experience in a dune buggy… another included a bicycle, downhill motion, and included a wink from a pretty girl in passing. It sure beat my incense, strobe light and sync-sound light box projects of the 60′s.
In 1984, while working on the Baltimore Power Plant project for Six Flags, I experienced the “Sensorium Theater”, which I was not the designer of, but did see the processes used intimately, and the failures too, which taught me much about the benefits and deficits of such multisensory systems, especially the scent system with its chemical wax like pellets.
In 1985, as Project Designer, I proposed to Caesars Palace that we use scent to stimulate/excite their patrons as they entered the casino… through this ancient Rotunda… via a moving sidewalk. It was a pretty far out concept … to all involved. Got cut from budget. Capable systems at this time were primitive, lacking or unavailable. The concept of scent marketing is not new to me. alphasensory.com/Portfolio/Caesars/ProjectPage.html (see linked document ProjectScope.html)
A few years later, in 1987 proposed multiple scented environments within the Fairyland Restaurant/Theater due to be created at Sanrio’s Puroland. By 1989, the idea of… and use of environmental fragrancing was going full bore while I lived and worked in Japan. I advocated it on various retail-marketing projects, such as the Sanrio Gallery, and have been a big supporter of scent environmental marketing, but again technology was primitive.
Our Patents and Prototypes
In the late 90′s we were still unable to find a good multi-scent diffuser for our Multisensory Stimulation System (pictured above), then under development. So we began to develop our own technology.
In 1998 our first generation aroma system was built, and in November 2000 a Provisional Patent was filed. This utility patent describes both Method and Apparatus. The Patent for the aromaComposer was officially granted in August 2004. The patent permits from one… to any number of scents to be actively diffused or blended within the machine. Three generations of prototypes have been built and tested extensively, which are all based upon, and built according to the strict methodology described in our patent. Each version is technologically more refined.
A second patent and numerous trade secrets protect those advances.
Advantages of this system over the current state of the art include:
- Ability to switch scents “on the fly”, selecting from a number of different oils.
- Ability to blend thousands of scents from several sources and dynamically select different blends “on the fly”.
- Uses much less oil than traditional diffusers (essential oils are very expensive)
- Leaves virtually no residue or lingering scents, even in small spaces.
- Operates with pre-programmed music and/or voice CDs and DVDs (Relaxation, Healing, Creativity, Determination, etc.; See “Programmed Experiences”)
- Programmable via standard computer interface for complete control of the user experience (the therapist can also record and edit programs for later use and share blends over the Internet)
- System distributes trace amounts at close range to targeted user only.
- Able to respond to the needs of an individual as those needs change.
- Extremely quiet operation
These characteristics create a dramatic new experience for individuals, which when applied properly can reduce stress, alter consciousness and promote well being.
The third-generation aromaComposer… for Special Needs and Spa Applications – Had optional motion sensor switch activation, rechargeable battery operation, and a selection of nozzles for various purposes
Integrated Scent Marketing Systems
Since developing the basic aromaComposer and its controller systems I have received various inquiries from individuals and companies, through the years, from around the world, interested in using our system for scent marketing purposes. We have proposed placing all components into a single box, mounted within a kiosk or display, for dedicated scent-marketing purposes.
A new scent-marketing prototype finally exists… based upon our Generation-3 head, bottle and pump system, fit into a solidly mounted single container. Ten plus years in the making.
c.2009 R. Douglas Nelson. All rights reserved.
Integrated Scent Marketing Systems
Since developing the basic aromaComposer and its controller systems I have received various inquiries from individuals and companies, through the years, from around the world, interested in using our system for scent marketing purposes. We have previously considered placing all components into a single box, mounted within a kiosk or display, similar to our new prototype.
April 2008 -From a letter following conversations regarding a marketing display:
“The aroma composer is based upon a modular system, and size is dependent on the number of scent blends required. The more advanced versions produce (1,000+) thousands of different scents. If a system puts out only one “Signature scent” or just a few scents, the size is quite small. The system can be built into a pedestal base or a wall mount device…”
Question: “Did I understand correctly? We might use a solution that trigger scent once client approach close to our product and a … sensor trigger the scent to go.”
”Absolutely correct. We might even be able to detect the location and distance of a user, target them, and draw them in to view a display. All things are possible.”
December 2006 – Reply from Doug to a restaurant chain planning to use scent for marketing:
“We produce physical systems that diffuse high quality scents that can change over time depending on our designed programs. These scents often accompany sound tracks or other sensory effects such as mood lighting. Our patented systems are fully automated.”
“For Instance, in your case, you might want to produce a wake-up scent in the morning that complements your breakfast menu, or draws people into your space for that perfect wake-up meal, depending on it designed purpose. Late in the day it time to decompress… what scent complements or beckons soon to be customers toward a beer with Fajitas?”
“We use the emotional appeal of an aroma to drive customers toward a product or to stimulate an action or thought.”
“We work with various scent-designers and aromatherapists to produce scents and scent programs with targeted appeal. We program the scents and produce the hardware to distribute them best for desired effect. We can even project a beam of scent along a narrow path, which hits only a limited targeted area (like just outside of a doorway).”
“This is corporate branding taken to the extreme.”
July 31, 2007 – Email Reply to Belgium re: Scent-Marketing
Question: I am looking for aroma systems as a marketing tool, that can contribute for our Company Brand Awareness around DESIGN for Food & Wellness.
“In a kiosk or game application, blending and projection of different scents in combination with other media is very doable. Software to permit web triggering of scents is relatively simple. The cost of the hardware would be reasonable for professional kiosks, multisensory integration, trade shows or other commercial use, but is expensive for “average” home computer users. This is a high resolution, high end systems, designed for projecting true – organic aromatherapy essential oils, not for chemical simulated scents.”
“Wellness is one of the prime purposes of this soon to be product… also LOHAS market in USA.”
c.2009 R. Douglas Nelson. All rights reserved.
Here are a few questions recieved over the years from people interested in use of our technology for various purposes, including theatrical use of scent and scent-marketing… worth reading. RDN
Is the diffuser capable of “personal” delivery?
The aromaComposer was designed specifically for personal delivery, and excels at it.
More specifically, we want to know whether multiple aromaComposers can be used in a single room by multiple users.
Most certainly Yes!…multiple aromaComposers can be used in a single room by multiple users.
In such a configuration, would the scent from one interfere with the scent from another?
In a tightly packed movie theater with rows of people shoulder to shoulder and knee to back, this would present a challenge. In a video game arcade, or at a specially built bar, or within a room with several point of purchase displays or kiosks, the aromatic separation could be maintained.
Thus, in designing a production system, we would normally need to know:
How close together do you desire to place the users? Are they seated or standing? How are users positioned in relation to each other?
How large is the space… its volume? How many users typically per cubic foot of airspace?
What kind of air conditioning or purification system is usually installed within the desired environment? Could we specify something different?
How often and for what period of time is aroma being directed to the users? Short bursts on occasion or a constant flow?
Are we blending custom synergies for each individual, or projecting a small pre-designed palette to be shared by many, just at different times?
How many component oils are desired?
How do we want to control this unit? Is it interfacing with existing systems? Is it intended to be combined with other sensual media displays? Is the system controlled by simple selection of a predetermined program or does it happen automatically through the guest’s selection via conscious choice, or by biofeedback analyzed by a complex AI device? FYI: We use either a computer or a DVD player here for demonstrations.
A System FAQ can be found at this link. aromacomposer.com/AromaComposerSystem_FAQ.html
Application of scent in a theater can be tricky, but can be done well, with careful programming, a high technology scent system, and appropriate essences.
Below is a true story of a failed but typical theater where scent was diffused.
Sensorium (Stink-o-vision) Theater, Baltimore Maryland, 1984
I was once involved in theme park project where others built a permanent theater. Inexpensive scent ejectors were placed onto the backs of all seats, intended to blow scent at the person in the seat behind. The ejectors were loaded with different flavors of cheap wax-like pellets, that seemed to work similarly to solid Glade or other bathroom air fresheners.
During a Three-D movie, the scents were dispersed on queue. For instance, pine in a forest, exhaust from a passing car, apple pie and then hot dogs at a country fair.
Seems fun, but some problems:
1) After about two weeks the theater took on the combined smell of all of those odors. The fabric upholstery, curtains, carpet and acoustic wall panels sucked up the scent, I don’t know if it could ever be removed.
People now entered the theater with scrunched noses and negative comments. “What is that awful smell?”
2) The system was also noisy, too, with clicking actuators and compressed air whooshing out, which you would hear over the movie. Not too natural, but maybe fun. Some people would bend over and place their nose up near the scent exit port a few inches from the person’s head in front of them.
3) Quality of the scent materials and unexpected combination of residual scents hurt the experience greatly.
I designed the aromaComposer to avoid the shortfalls of what I had experienced in Baltimore… and of similar environmental fragrancing systems in use or developed previously. When creating this technology, I explored other systems, patents and approaches to scent diffusion, and improved upon them in many ways.
by Jeremy Rifkin
President of the Foundation on Economic Trends
©2005 Jeremy Rifkin
The Multisensory Stimulation System provides an opportunity for people to reintegrate their senses and could play an important role as a new kind of learning tool (1) one designed to give the human brain a heightened sense of context. So much of contemporary learning relies almost exclusively on visual imagery and auditory signals that we risk a deep loss of the more intimate senses of taste, touch, and most importantly smell. While the visual sense is the most detached and objective of the senses, and the one most identified with aggression and expropriation, the much neglected intimate senses are far more important in establishing a sense of embeddedness between people and the larger communities and environments in which they live. (See Biosphere Politics (2))
In an era characterized by increasing globalization, complexity, and vulnerability, it is imperative to create new tools that help the individual develop a holistic mental framework. The Multisensory Stimulation System is a breakthrough technology that if used as a learning tool… and not simply as an entertainment medium… would help prepare us to more fully use the full range of senses and become more integrated with the life that surrounds.
Jeremy Rifkin Quoted
Excerpts from conversations regarding the aromaComposer and the Multisensory Stimulation System
“This is exactly what you would see in a sci-fi movie. You want something like this to be an aid and an assist in everything from health to learning.”
“If this could be a tool in learning and in health, physical and mental health, “You’ve opened up an unbelievable frontier.
JR on Scent & Senses
“They say that memory in the brain is triggered by smell.”
“The most intimate experiences in memory, when you’re a little kid, always is conjured up by smell; it’s the smell. If you go to the more intimate senses, smell would be first, then taste, then touch I guess, then sound, then visual. It’s more powerful because it’s a more intimate sense.”
“Music can create all the various moods, the way the body changes with the music – aroma would do the same thing.”
“How ’bout for patients who can’t get out … (of a hospital) …In a hospital you’re denied all the life affirming smells that integrate human nature.”
Jeremy Rifkin on Digital Multisensory Control
Jeremy Rifkin: “It also has specific advantages that in a controlled situation that you can’t do in nature. What Doug’s got here that’s important here, is that “If you can create different combinations and keep it digitally controlled, it allows you to do clinical studies of people, where you can start to see results in specific disorders. Because you got everything controlled digitally, it’s quantifiable. That’s a big deal, that just opens up an enormous new area.”
“The next step, bring people together. Need the disciplines to create programs. Educators too.”
“One of the best business plans that I have ever seen.”
1) “Learning tools” can help us learn to feel good. They can teach us how to relax, how to let go of stress, how to heal ourselves, and can lead each of us toward realization of our authentic self.
2) These concepts are explored in depth within Jeremy Rifkin’s book, “Biosphere Politics”
Compilation of significant articles about “Aromatherapy”
Within the context of these following articles, you will find some of the data that we used to develop our Aromatherapy Web FAQ in June and July, 2003. We were primarily interested in presenting aroma used as an inhalant, and not topically applied as massage oil. Any information contained herein is for educational or research purposes only.(see “Notes” at end)
How information is presented here
An abundance of aromatherapy information is available. Having read from many sources, we selected the most pertinent articles in relation to our unique diffusion system, the “aromaComposer™”. To save time and add clarity I have marked up areas with various notes and colors, etc. as follow:
- Personal comments, notes or call-outs are in blue color like this.
- Most significant items are highlighted in red like this!
- I have left much information in black so you can see the context of the highlighted items if needed.
- In most cases the notes in blue point out important black text areas when they exist. If not, you can probably skim over them quickly to save time.
- Original sources or references to selections have been retained, if you need them for quotes, etc. although some of these links are no longer valid.
3-D/Surround Audio Recordings
This audio recording should be listened to with stereo headphones to achieve their amazing “You are There” dimensional effects. Sample is below.
Skate Sounds – 3-D Audio Sample Clip
Download the following sound experiences in MP3 format
This 3 minute binaural recording is about three megs in size. Download time should be about 10 minutes on a 56k modem… nearly instant with a high speed connection. Be sure to listen with headphones!
This is a very realistic binaural audio rendering of the Santa Barbara Skateboard Park, “Skater’s Point”, on the beach in California. This was recorded late morning/early afternoon in the fall of 2001. As we were recording the skateboards in surround, a street preacher, dressed in a white robe, appeared and began to do his thing for the Skaters at hand.
© 2001 by R. D. Nelson & S. Nichols. All rights reserved.